They’re quick, they’re cool, and they’re easy…
But the one thing I love most about smoothies??
I can pack a whole lotta nutrition into 1 cup!
Chia, hemp, or flax seeds, grass-fed collagen, antioxidant-rich berries, greens, spirulina, adaptogens like maca… the sky’s the limit!
Why Spinach In Smoothies?
Spinach is one power-packed green veggie that I love adding to smoothies.
It’s rich in fiber, zinc, B vitamins, vitamins A and C, folate, calcium and more! Because it’s high in flavonoids, it protects your body from free radicals, particularly in the colon. Spinach is also brain food! Studies show that it helps maintain brain function, mental clarity, and memory. (Source.)
Read more: how to eat raw beets in smoothies
Unlike kale, which tends to be bitter, spinach has a pretty neutral flavor and doesn’t take away from the sweetness of my smoothie.
The Problem With Spinach In Smoothies
If spinach is so great, why go to the trouble of making spinach smoothie “pucks”?
Well, as nutrient-dense as spinach is, there’s also a problem: oxalic acid/oxalates.
And spinach has lots of ’em.
Oxalates/oxalic acid are to spinach what phytates/phytic acid are to beans, grains, and seeds that haven’t been traditionally prepared through soaking, sprouting, or sourdough. They interfere with mineral absorption by binding to the minerals in the food and preventing absorption.
Calcium is the particular mineral that the body can’t absorb because of oxalates/oxalic acid in raw spinach.
“[A]lthough the calcium in spinach is 115 mg per half cup cooked, because of the interference of oxalic acid, you would have to eat more than 16 cups of raw or more than eight cups of cooked spinach to get the amount of calcium available in one cup of yogurt” (source).
What’s the point in eating calcium-rich spinach if your body can’t absorb the calcium?!
Steamed Spinach Smoothie “Pucks”
Because steaming spinach each and every time you want a smoothie is a pain, these Steamed Spinach Smoothie “Pucks” are super convenient! Plus, 1/3 cup of steamed spinach = approximately 1 full cup of raw spinach!
When you’re ready to make a smoothie or my favorite Hippie Juice, you’ll have pre-steamed spinach that’s low in oxalates and much better for you than raw spinach!
Healthy Green Smoothies
Green smoothies are healthy — as long as you’re not adding handfuls of raw greens to them.
Spinach isn’t the only green veggie that’s high in oxalates either. Swiss chard, kale, and beet greens also contain high amounts of oxalic acid. Use this same method for those greens, if you have an abundance that you’d like to add to your smoothies.
Check out these posts for more information about making healthy smoothies:
- Why We Steam Kale (and other leafy greens)
- How To Make A Healthy Smoothie: The Dos and Don’ts
- Healthy Smoothie DOs & DON’Ts Podcast
- 31 Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Don’t Have Time to Make Pre-Steamed Greens?
If you don’t have time to pre-steam greens, you can still get the benefits of dark greens in your smoothie without any of the work by… adding this low-oxalate greens powder (get 15% OFF with coupon DRCOWANSGARDEN) or this fermented kale powder (get 10% OFF with coupon TCS10)!
Read more: Strawberry Mango Smoothie (Dairy-free!)